You've got to juggle many different tasks and considerations as a business owner, not least of all the need for robust cybersecurity measures to protect your business from cyber-attacks. Suppose you run an online payment processing company or something of that nature. In that case, you're already well aware of the need for airtight cybersecurity—but business owners who don't conduct much business online sometimes think they're in the clear and unlikely to be targeted by cybercriminals. Unfortunately, that's not the case, so it's crucial to understand and utilize cybersecurity tips.
Nowadays, almost every business uses the internet in some way to transfer or store information. Regardless of the size or description of your business, you have some level of vulnerability to cyber-attacks and must protect yourself with the best possible cybersecurity measures. These cybersecurity tips for business owners are designed to give you a sense of how to keep your business and your data safe from prying eyes.
As the old saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. That's never more true than when it's applied to cybersecurity best practices for business owners. Because of the nature of digital files and information, once a data breach occurs, there are few good ways to contain it and stop the damage without significant hassle and expense. Once that happens, you need commercial cyber insurance protection to prevent further financial losses. Here are some key cybersecurity best practices to offer your business protection against cyber threats of all types, from viral infestations to suspicious emails.
This is the most basic business cybersecurity tip out there, but it bears repeating because it's a simple task that is often neglected. Most people prefer to avoid using complex passwords and changing them frequently because it makes it more difficult for them to remember the right one when trying to log in, and that's understandable. But like locking your front door makes it more difficult for you to get back into your house and deters would-be trespassers, strong passwords are essential security measures to prevent cyber trespassers from wandering into your server or online accounts. One easy way to avoid forgetting your password is to use password managers that securely store your passwords and enter them in for you with the click of a button.
Computer viruses and malware are right up there among the most common malicious attacks, so it makes good sense to invest in reliable anti-malware and antivirus software for every computer you or your employees use for business purposes. There are many popular choices out there, so make sure to choose one with a solid reputation for defeating viruses and malware.
Having security software in place is good, but it will only help you in the slightest if you keep it current with regular software updates. Set it up for automatic updates so you don't have to see all those annoying reminders. It's easy to get used to out-of-date notifications and eventually ignore them, but that means the software is not functioning, and your computers are unprotected.
There's a good chance you have a Wi-Fi network for your business, and ensuring it's adequately secured is another important cybersecurity tip to remember. If you run a hospitality business such as a coffee shop, you may even have public Wifi for your customers to use. In that case, having a second, secured, private network for your business use, your personal and your employees' personal devices is crucial. To avoid any security risks, make sure to stay off the unsecured network entirely. The wireless network your business uses should be secure, encrypted and hidden.
Ensuring you're backing up all your data in multiple locations is vital. It could potentially be stolen or deleted in a ransomware attack, or another type of security breach, and the loss of information could prevent your business from operating as usual or leave you liable for its loss. If it's backed up in a second location, you still have to deal with a data breach—but at least you haven't lost access to critical documents you need to run your business.
Multi-factor or two-factor authentication is when you enter a password, and it sends a text to your mobile device with a code to confirm that it's really you who is attempting to log in and not bad actors trying to gain unauthorized access. This way, even if a cybercriminal does gain access to your passwords, they can't use them without physical access to your mobile device. Multi-factor authentication is an extra layer of security that isn't necessary for every business, but it is worth the effort if you find that you're vulnerable to stolen passwords.
As a business owner or manager, you may be reasonably well-versed in cybersecurity best practices—but that doesn't mean your employees are. Just protecting against attacks from malicious software and other digital invaders isn't enough because all the encryption and cybersecurity in the world can't protect you from human error by an untrained employee. They don't all need to be cybersecurity experts, but your employees should have some baseline knowledge so they don't click suspicious links in emails or fall prey to phishing attacks. An example of a phishing attack is it's fairly common for cybercriminals to pose as a CEO or higher-up at your company and email or call employees asking them to purchase gift cards and send them right away. Some basic training will prevent your employees from falling for typical scams and phishing attempts from unauthorized users.
Another big cybersecurity tip to remember is that your employees should only have access to the information they need to do their jobs. If they have nothing to do with sending and receiving invoices, for example, there's no need to give them access to your and your client's payment information. This isn't about not trusting your employees at all—it's about the fact that cyber criminals can't steal knowledge and data from them that they don't have. Each employee should have their own account to log in to with a single user, and each profile should only be allowed to access the information that individual needs for their work duties.
By now, you can see the importance of a cybersecurity plan. One of the major cybersecurity best practices you should follow to ensure your cybersecurity strategy is solid is to evaluate your risk levels and potential security flaws. That could involve hiring a third-party consultant to review your measures and recommend additional cybersecurity tips. Think about the data you have, who might want to get it, and how they are likely to go about attempting to steal it from you so you can close up any security vulnerabilities and ensure your business information and systems—and the information of your clients, partners and vendors—is safe in your hands.
Some smaller business owners often assume they are too small for cyber criminals to bother with and don't have any valuable information worth stealing. This, along with many other common cyber insurance myths, is certainly untrue. Firstly, small businesses are prime targets for many malicious actors because they are much more likely than larger companies to have inadequate cybersecurity measures or none, making them easy pickings. Secondly, you have more valuable information than you think. It doesn't necessarily have to be financial files or human resources files—even an email address or the name of someone who works for your business can be helpful to a cyber-criminal because it lets them get their foot in the door and get employees to trust them so they'll give up access to more critical data and facilitate other suspicious activity unknowingly.
The final cybersecurity tip we'll leave you with is that you need some cybersecurity protection in place to get cyber insurance. What you need to do can vary quite a bit based on the insurance company, your business's risk levels, and more. But if you still need to get the most basic cybersecurity best practices in place, insurance providers will decline to give you a quote for cyber liability coverage. That fact alone proves how common cyber attacks are and how likely you are to fall victim to one without the necessary protections.
If you'd like to learn more about cyber liability insurance, contact the experienced commercial brokers at Morison Insurance by calling 1-800-463-8074 today.
This content is written by our Morison Insurance team. All information posted is merely for educational and informational purposes. It is not intended as a substitute for professional advice. Should you decide to act upon any information in this article, you do so at your own risk. While the information on this website has been verified to the best of our abilities, we cannot guarantee that there are no mistakes or errors.